|150-year-old Galapagos tortoise|
I didn’t see most of the marine life that my fellow passengers saw, as I still haven’t conquered my fear of snorkelling (the Great Barrier Reef experience wasn’t a fluke) -- make that “extreme panic attacks and conviction that I am about to die” reaction to snorkelling, as “fear” just isn’t a strong enough word. I did manage, by the end of the week, to swim a few strokes while breathing through the tube, but it took every ounce of willpower I possess. (Perhaps I should start in a bathtub and work up from there; attempting to snorkel in the open ocean just isn’t working for me.) So I had to content myself with watching the sea turtles and sharks and sting rays from the boat; fortunately the water’s very clear and I still got a pretty good view.
We had at least 2, sometimes 3 or 4, landings or snorkelling trips a day, since it was a small boat with just 11 passengers – quick to load us all on and off. So we covered a lot of ground in 8 days, and retired to the catamaran (the very comfortable Nemo II) each night for dinner and socializing. Food was included – 3 sumptuous meals a day, and decadent snacks every time we got back on board the boat – but for a couple of days near the end I had to pass on most of it. I don`t think I was seasick, but I was definitely sick; climbing up and down a ladder from a berth to a tiny bathroom several times a night on a small boat in rolling seas is not an experience I`d rush to repeat.
I`m still a little queasy, so I`m not venturing far into Quito. I`m heading to a hotel near the airport tomorrow night (as my flight leaves at 6 a.m.), but if I feel a little better I may go see something of the city tomorrow. I`m not terribly bothered if I can`t, though – Quito`s Old Town, where I`m currently staying, is a lovely old historical part of town, but after four months of baroque cathedrals and Spanish colonial architecture I won`t feel too deprived if I miss exploring ONE city`s highlights. You can get colonial-church-ed out after a while, and sometimes one more museum is just one too many.
So I`ll just have to come back one day – to go have my picture taken on the equator line, if nothing else! – to Quito and to the rest of Ecuador. I thought when I started this trip that I’d see more of the country, but time has run away from me ... and there are a lot of interesting places to go, so a return trip is definitely on the agenda at some point.
And in just over 48 hours from now, I’ll be back in Toronto – I will be mostly happy, a little sad that this phase of travel is over but glad to stay put for a little while in familiar surroundings. And happy to have peanut butter for breakfast again ... so Shelley, make sure the place is well-stocked!